Community | Alexa and Bre

Alexa is a graduate student in New York

Bre is a graduate student studying remotely from Utah

After my interview with Heena, a graduate student from Connecticut, I was curious about other SLP graduate students. Are SLP students across the country experiencing similar barriers to starting their careers? I reached out to a couple of Facebook groups and heard back from Alexa Vahlstrom, a graduate student in New York, and Bre Quinn, who is studying remotely from Utah. Here’s what we discussed:

Please note: I am reflecting these conversations to the best of my ability. I may have made some tweaks here and there for grammar or to make things make sense to the readers (can’t help it – I’m an SLP)

What’s the hardest thing about grad school right now?

Alexa

There are no externships and no guarantees when we will get them at all. It could be next year, or longer but our professors tell us they do not have answers. Our graduation has been delayed. This is concerning since most of us are on financial aid and the thought of waiting even longer for a job and getting more loans is stressful

Bre

I am doing it online. The hardest part is finding people who want to study with me. I am not very good at studying, so when it comes time for tests I do ok, but I would like to do better. I feel that if I was able to find someone to study with consistently it would be easier.

What makes you excited about the field of Speech-language pathology? 

Alexa

The use of up and coming technologies in speech-language pathology. Although COVID is a hard time for everyone, we now have patients through telehealth and I love learning about it. I am excited to see that it has been working for some.

Bre

I taught for five years. Having 30 plus kids in a class was hard. I am currently working as an SLPA and am loving the small groups.

Where do you look for ideas for practicum/therapy activities?

Alexa

[I mostly use] internet searches, my classmates, [and] clinical educators

Bre

I look for activities on Instagram and Facebook from other well-known slps.

What would make your life easier as a grad student? 

Alexa

I would love to have more peer learning opportunities. I enjoy small groups and having peer mentors.

Bre

Grad school would be easier if I had a consistent study partner

How would you share your passion for Speech-Language Pathology with the world if money and time were no object? 

Alexa

Give free therapy to anyone who needed it along with parent training workshops

Bre

I would go around doing parent conferences or workshops to new parents and educate them about effective communication when raising their child.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Alexa

I am looking forward to graduating- can’t wait to be out in the field

Bre

I wish I would have known about this area of study earlier. It wasn’t until I taught a severe special needs child that I realized it existed and that this job was in high demand.

Community Action Items

I cannot get enough of interviewing graduate students. I think it makes me feel nostalgic and SO HAPPY that I’m done with that phase of life (sorry ladies – you’ll get there).

  • First of all, someone please make a grad student mentor program! I’d love to see graduate students getting together to help each other and study together.
  • Next, how can we support parents more? Is anyone out there providing these free parent trainings both of our grad students mentioned? I’d love to learn more about this.

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